Shock figures have revealed around 76,000 people in Lancashire fall victim to scams by post and e-mail each year.
Today residents were asked to join the fight against the fraudsters by posting copies of scam mail in more than 100 special bins placed across the county as party of the annual Scamnesty campaign which starts today.
Lancashire County Council’s trading standards service and Lancashire Police is encouraging victims and other consumers approached by scammers to help them get intelligence on new scams circulating the county.
Annually, scams cost people in Lancashire around £64m.
The bins will be available at over 100 locations in Lancashire including Citizen’s Advice Bureaus, police stations, libraries, Town Hall, County Hall
Last year’s campaign identified 689 separate scams which, had they worked, could have conned residents out of £400,000.
It also revealed fake prize draws remain the biggest problem in Lancashire, showing a seven-fold increase between 2010 and 2011, followed by psychic scams.
County Coun Albert Atkinson said: “Scammers are always coming up with new ideas to catch people out so it’s vital that people deposit the scams in the bins.
“While I can understand why people might feel embarrassed if they’re taken in by a scam, I would strongly urge them to report it. If they don’t, it is much more difficult to target prevention and take action against those responsible.
“The sad reality is that while scams are a massive problem, with some people being conned out of very large sums, only one in 20 victims report them.”
DC Mark Aldridge, fraud officer for Lancashire Police, added: “Being scammed in this fashion can be devastating to the victim due to the level of trust cultivated by the fraudster who effectively befriends them before striking.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Preston
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North west